Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Agency Culture Dentsu

Dentsu suspended from bidding for Tokyo and Osaka government contracts as scandal fall-out continues


By Danielle Long, Acting APAC Editor

February 13, 2023 | 3 min read

Dentsu has been suspended from bidding for government contracts as the Tokyo Olympic bid-rigging scandal continues.

Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympic bid-rigging scandal continues

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Osaka Prefecture have suspended Japan’s largest advertising agency group Dentsu from bidding for government contracts as the bid-rigging scandal continues.

The government organisations joined The Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition, which manages the Osaka Expo, and the city of Osaka, both of which have taken similar action, according to media reports.

The moves will see Dentsu suspended from bidding for contracts for one year, however, it does not apply to existing signed contracts.

It is the latest in a string of events following the arrest of Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive board member of the organising committee, and ex-Dentsu executive, who was arrested on charges of accepting bribes in a broader corruption scandal.

Last week, four individuals were arrested in relation to the scandal, including a former senior Dentsu employee. Former employees of event production companies Cerespo and Fuji Creative, as well as a former Tokyo Games organising committee executive, were also arrested on suspicion of violating Japan's Antimonopoly Law.

Last week, Tokyo Prosecutors also said they would continue to investigate Dentsu, along with five other agencies, and were exploring criminal charges.

Dentsu Inc. in Japan told The Drum in a statement: "Dentsu Inc. takes this situation very seriously. The company will fully cooperate with the authorities in their investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, Dentsu Inc. will conduct its own investigation to determine the facts of the matter and the cause in addition to developing further measures to prevent recurrence. Based on the results of the investigation, Dentsu Inc. will take strict actions to restore the trust of all stakeholders."

Japan's three biggest advertising agencies Dentsu, Hakuhodo and ADK have all been embroiled in the scandal, along with Tokyu Agency, and three event companies Cerespo, Fuji Creative and Same Two.

It is believed ADK will escape prosecution after voluntarily admitting its activities.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Agency Culture Dentsu

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